Talk of yellowtail biting off the Palos Verdes Peninsula was all the convincing Burch Schleisner needed to load up the poles, fire up the engine on his 21-foot boat and head to the area.
But Schleisner would never get his yellowtail. Nor would he care.
Schleisner and two companions would spend a good part of the day catching calico bass, occasionally hooking into white seabass that proved too much for their 15-pound test line.
"We had hit a couple that broke the string because we were trying to get them to the boat too fast," Schleisner said. Then Schleisner, 37, of Long Beach latched onto another and fought it successfully for 20 minutes before bringing it to the boat.
The seabass was brought to 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro, where it tipped the scale at 56 pounds.
"And we were pretty much alone out there," Schleisner said.
That should change when word spreads of the large seabass in the area.
As for the yellowtail, a steady bite is still in progress at San Clemente Island, where South Bay-based overnight boats are reporting daily catches of 30 to 80 fish a day.
The Shogun, out of L.A. Harbor Sportfishing in San Pedro, has been consistently turning in counts of about 70 fish.
Mark Larsen, a spokesman for the landing, said the fish are averaging between 12 and 20 pounds.
Full- and three-quarter day boats are working the shores of Catalina, finding an occasional school of yellowtail and picking up some seabass. But they have had no trouble finding calico bass.
Some vessels turned in reports in the 200-plus range last weekend, and the counts dropped this week only because the passenger load has dropped. A passenger aboard the Victory out of Long Beach Sportfishing on Tuesday caught an eight-pounder.
When the Pacifica returned to port at San Pedro's L.A. Harbor Sportfishing on Sunday night, its passengers disembarked, satisfied that they had made a contribution toward satisfying the hunger of homeless families in Los Angeles.
"They're eating high on the hog," said Jim Rodman, a spokesman for Innovative Music Tours' annual "Fish for the Homeless" excursion.
After a successful day on the water, catching mostly calico bass and some yellowtail, Rodman and company donated more than 220 fresh fish fillets to the Fred Jordan Mission.
The team of Gary Muller and Cindy Weaver of Torrance finished second in the American Bass Assn.'s tournament on Sunday at Lake Hodges in San Diego.
The team used spinnerbaits and caught two largemouth bass totaling 9.54 pounds. Muller's 7.03-pounder--released alive after it was weighed--was the biggest fish caught during the tournament.
There are no elk in the South Bay, but there is the new South Bay chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which is staging its first banquet-auction May 15 at the Marriott Hotel in Torrance.
The RMEF, an international organization with 70,000 members, uses such fund-raisers to help pay for projects aimed at maintaining North American elk populations and habitat.
Among items to be auctioned are rifles, limited-edition wildlife art prints, big-game hunts, vacation packages and merchandise. Information: Henry Sanchez at (310) 539-2272.